The Perks Of Traveling Alone

Traveling single over the last couple months has opened my eyes to the needs of the solo traveler. Stepping into that role, not by choice really but due to scheduling conflicts, I found myself alone. While a couple of months is nothing compared to a lifetime of solo traveling, I got a good taste for what’s different in the world of traveling single. It’s not all bad.

You are not sharing a room
You can put your stuff wherever you want to. For some, that might mean dropping their clothes on the floor as they fall off at the end of a long day on the road. Initially. Once the thrill of it all is over (in about 12 seconds for me: thanks mom for ruining it), I get an overwhelming desire to have everything neat and tidy. Not so much because of a need to be organized but because that messy +1 is not along for the ride. Undoubtedly, he/she/it would disorganize the mission, effectively sabotaging it.

You are on no one’s schedule but your own. Stay up later or go to bed earlier if you want to. There is no need to remember that other person’s dietary requirements or likes/dislikes about pretty much anything.

On your own temporarily, you might want to reconsider taking photos showing you at that place not everyone needs to know about. Amsterdam comes to mind.Healthy Choices
You don’t have to make the healthy choice when dining. You probably will but if a few off-track indulgences won’t make big a difference in your healthy lifestyle plan, now would be the time to do it with no guilt trip, actual or perceived, from anyone. Skip a normal exercise routine though and you’ll pay for it later.

On the other hand, if that absent traveling companion has a way of bringing out the worst in you, this is a good thing.

The down side: you also don’t have that extra person to share in expenses. There is no one to split cab fare with or help navigate in an unfamiliar part of the world. Hotels can be more expensive on a per-person basis while traveling solo. Cruise lines typically price everything as double occupancy, so solo travelers pay double too.

Still, there’s a bit of joy in traveling solo that is undeniable – but just a bit. Sharing travel experiences makes for rich memories, full of detail that can be recalled years from now. Social sharing via Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest, HipGeo and more is one thing. Sharing with a friend is quite another.

[Flickr photo by JonoMueller]

Summer Travel Plans Include Solo Experience For Some

Summer travel plans have a majority of Americans on the road and in the sky this year and in greater numbers than in the past. A recent report says 59 percent of Americans will travel this summer, primarily in the United States. Also up is solo travel as single travelers plan engaging vacations more than in the past.

“Consumers want deeper, richer experiences when they travel,” said David Patron, vice president of American Express Travel in a Wall Street Journal report. “When a traveler visits a destination they want to understand the local traditions and feel like they are getting a true insider experience.”

USA Today reports sixteen percent of 1,500 U.S. adults recently surveyed by American Express say they will take a trip alone, up from 12 percent last year

“People who have never traveled alone often describe their first solo trip as an almost religious experience,” says Independent Traveler. “To take in new surroundings unfiltered by the prejudices, tastes or preferences of a traveling companion can be heady stuff. Traveling alone gives you the chance to indulge yourself fully.”Independent Traveler also offers a variety of tips for solo travelers, urging caution while enjoying the freedom and flexibility that solo travel offers.

“One of the best reasons to travel alone is to meet new people, but this also makes you more vulnerable,” says Independent Traveler. “It’s okay to hang out, travel and share with new friends, but you might not want to ask them to hold your money. Scam artists can often be the most charming companions you’ll find; you want to be open-minded, but keep your guard up enough to ensure your safety.”

See more tips for solo travelers at Independent Traveler.

[Flickr photo by mikebaird]